James E. Kelley Chair in Tort Law
Professor of Law
“Law is a powerful tool to shape society and serve the common good. In training new lawyers it is important to impart not only an understanding of what the legal system demands of them, but also a commitment to figure out what they should demand of the legal system.”
B.A., Yale University
J.D., University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law
Ph.D., Cornell University
Holding a Ph.D. in History from Cornell University and a J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law, Jonathan Kahn writes on issues in history, politics, and law and specializes in biotechnology’s implications for our ideas of identity, rights, and citizenship, with a particular focus on race and justice. He teaches in areas of constitutional law, torts, health law, and bioethics.
Professor Kahn received two grants from the National Human Genome Research Institute’s (NHGRI) Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) Research Program to support projects exploring the ethical and legal ramifications of the increasing use of racial and ethnic categories in the context of gene patenting and drug development. Professor Kahn is an internationally recognized expert on this topic.
Most recently, he received a three year grant from the National Library of Medicine to support the writing of his newest book, Race in a Bottle: The Story of BiDil and Racialized Medicine in a Post-Genomic Age (Columbia University Press, 2013), which was awarded Honorable Mention for the 2013 Best Book Award, by the Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association.
Dr. Kahn has been published in a wide array of journals ranging from the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law & Ethics, Iowa Law Review, and the Stanford Law & Policy Journal to Health Affairs, the American Journal of Bioethics, the American Journal of Public Health, Science, and Nature Genetics. His first book, Budgeting Democracy: State-Building and Citizenship in America, 1890-1928 was published in 1997 by Cornell University Press.
Dr. Kahn practiced with the firm of Hogan & Hartson after graduating from law school and then went on to complete his Ph.D. and teach at Bard College. Later, he served as a visiting associate professor at Harvard University and has also taught at the University of Minnesota, Cornell University School of Law, and Western New England School of Law.